By Innocent Anaba
Civil Society Alliance for Good Governance, ASAGG, a rights group, has called on the Supreme Court to make the votes of the people of Osisioma Ngwa, Isiala Ngwa and Obingwa Local Government Areas of Abia State count in who governs the state.
It will be recalled that the Court of Appeal sitting in Owerri, Imo State had cancelled the votes of the entire three councils in the appeal by Mr. Alex Otti, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, challenging the lower tribunal verdict, upholding the election of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP of Abia State.
The appellate court, after cancelling the election in the three councils, declared Otti winner of the governorship poll.
Briefing newsmen in Lagos, ASAGG’s Coordinator, Mr. Emmanuel Usoro, said their concern was not who would eventually win the case at the Supreme Court, but that the votes of the people of the three councils should be made to count in “who governs the state
“We are concerned with who will protect the voting rights of the good people of Obingwa, Osisioma Ngwa and Isiala Ngwa North, who have been denied the unnegotiable and inalienable right of determining who governs them in their state? This is very disturbing and worrisome.
“This situation can create chaos, voter apathy and cynicism among the electorate in further polls and a total lack of confidence on the judiciary that is supposed to be the last hope of the common man.
“Worse still, the Appeal Court cited issues of irregularities exemplified by over-voting based on the card reader as a new ground for the cancellation of election results in the said three local government areas.
“Does the law allow the cancellation of a whole local government based on over-voting? Did the over-voting occur in every polling unit in all the wards in the three said local government areas, LGAs?
“There are 458 polling units in the three LGAs, namely: Osisioma Ngwa- 110 polling units; Isiala Ngwa North -125 polling units and Obingwa -223 polling units. Does it mean that over-voting occurred in all the 458 polling units in the three LGAs at the same time?
“If there is over-voting in one polling unit and in another, votes were validly cast without any irregularity and or over-voting. Does that deny the electorate of that unit where there was no irregularity or over-voting the rights for their votes to count? Will they be dis-enfranchised because of a problem from another unit? Is that the justice that the court was meant for?” he asked.